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Looking for Jake and Other Stories [Paperback]

China Mieville
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

6 May 2011

Step into a London ravaged by unearthly creatures at once utterly alien and chillingly familiar. In China Miéville's award-winning novella 'The Tain', we learn the reason for the invaders' terrible revenge. One survivor must trek through the ruins of the city with a desperate plan to stand against their assault.

In addition to 'The Tain', this superb collection contains thirteen short stories, of visionary cityscapes and urban paranoia, ghosts, monsters and impossible diseases. Several of the stories are published here for the first time: these include one set in New Crobuzon, the location of the award-winning series of novels that began with Perdido Street Station; and one in comic-strip form, illustrated by top graphic artist Liam Sharp. This collection displays the sheer imaginative scope of China Miéville's work.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (6 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033053422X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330534222
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 170,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

China Miéville lives and works in London. He is three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award (Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The City & The City) and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice (Perdido Street Station and The Scar). The City & The City, an existential thriller, was published in 2009 to dazzling critical acclaim and drew comparison with the works of Kafka and Orwell (The Times) and Philip K. Dick (Guardian).

Product Description

Review

Beautifully evocative language, social conscience, a clear sense of history, romantic longing, intelligence, despair. This is, very possibly, greatness. -- The Boston Globe

Not just eye-opening but thought-provokingly imaginative -- Dreamwatch --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

China Miéville lives and works in London. He is three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award (Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The City & The City) and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice (Perdido Street Station and The Scar). The City & The City, an existential thriller, was published in 2009 to dazzling critical acclaim and drew comparison with the works of Kafka and Orwell (The Times) and Philip K. Dick (Guardian). His most recent novel, Kraken, was published in 2010.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection 3 Sep 2007
By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Looking for Jake (2005) is China Mieville's fifth book and his first short story collection. The thirteen short stories and one novella are mostly set in London, but in nearly every story London has changed or been altered in some strange, often undefinable manner, creating a highly unsettling atmosphere that permeates every story in the collection.

The book opens with 'Looking for Jake' itself. The title story is a letter from one inhabitant of London to another, against the backdrop of a city where people have vanished and an overwhelming sense of listlessness has overtaken the populace. It's short, haunting and sets the tone for the book impressively. 'Foundation' follows things up in a similar manner and is arguably the most horrific story in the collection, with it's protagonist who sees what other people cannot.

'The Ball Room', cowritten with Emma Bircham and Max Schaefer, is an ambiguous, murky little ghost story with an unusual setting which is highly disturbing, digging into the fears of every parent. On the other hand, 'Reports of Certain Events in London' is one of the most 'fun' story in the collection. The narrator is Mieville himself, claiming to have received a curious package of documents through the post which suggest that there's far more to the winding backstreets of suburbia than first meets the eye. There's a nice line of humour in this tale that contrasts well with the grimness of some of the other tales, and is one of Mieville's stories where the influence of Neil Gaiman on his writing is most evident.

'Familiar' is a downright grotesque tale of survival and identity with some nevertheless darkly amusing moments.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good selection of short stories. 18 Nov 2006
By Kuma
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is in some sense a rebuttal of the reviews for the hardback version of this collection. I found the selection very entertaining, combining well thought out concepts and excellent narrative structure. The stories are written in such a way as to keep the reader at arms length, often written from a first person perspective and exploitng this in using the unreliable narrator to add depth to the story. I don't really want to go into too much detail as many of the stories hinge on a few but highly important details. On a more general note of content, there is a good short story from the Bas-Lag universe which adds to the scattered canon of work on Mieville's "robin hood" figure of Jack-Half-a-Prayer, as well as a copy of "the Tain" Mieville's hard to find novella. There has been some negativity around the collection and there are two disappointments. The first is the story in graphic format "on the way to the front" which doesn't read terribly well or clearly and probably needed a short written introduction. The other is the "looking for jake" story which is a good read, but largely hinges on the composition of a letter, which is lacks for originality given that Mieville uses the composing of a letter as an integral narrative device in "the scar". In conclusion I would like to recommend this collection to other readers, but ask them to be realistic the stories are considerably shorter than his other works and so should not be judged against them as other reviewers have attempted to do...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Miéville Writ Small 7 Nov 2011
By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This collection includes fourteen stories, mostly short, by China Miéville. Most have his trademark strangeness, with the dark, oozy feel of Bas-Lag--although only one is set in that world. There isn't a shallow, cheerful tale in the lot.

My three favorites:

"The Ball Room" brings a creepy uncomfortableness to our experiences with those kids' play areas filled with plastic balls. They seem contained and safe, but... anything could be happening under there.

"Reports of Certain Events in London" explores the wild streets of London. They appear and disappear, hunt and hide from each other, and are mostly indifferent to the world of humans. Walking down a street ought to be safe and uneventful. Sometimes it is.

"The Tain" is the most like Miéville's longer fiction. It chronicles the precipitating events and the lingering aftermath of an invasion by "imagos" from mirrors and other reflective surfaces. There are strange settings, fantastic characters, and a complex plot. It's the good old weird stuff his fans love.

These stories prompted some reflection about why I enjoy Miéville's writing. His longer pieces work for me, not just for the imaginative strangeness, but for the multiple interwoven subplots, the abundance and diversity of strange ideas, and the creeping progress through fantastic landscapes.

In contrast, many of these short stories take on a single idea and exhaust it. The ideas are good: a pane of glass that looks somewhere different than the others, Christmas with all of the trappings trademarked, threatening presences in the fine patterns of cracks and shadows around us--good stuff! But most of these stories just stay with one idea.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book 7 July 2008
By MarcosP
Format:Paperback
This is the first book I've read by this author, so - looking at some of the other reviews here - I'm not influenced by comparisons with his other works. I loved this book - it's excellently written, the plot twists are actually twisty (i.e. not consistently predictable), it's paranoid and apocalyptic. Like the schizophrenic thoughts you'd get after a heavy session on speed and acid and three days with no sleep, made into real worlds. These stories have somthing of a Ray Bradbury quality of well-crafted vignettes, but with a consistently darker cast to them. Whilst I agree that the cartoon story - sorry, graphic novella - isn't that great, as a collection it rocks. Three stars? You're avin a larf!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A good mix of stories.
I really enjoyed these short stories. Most are very different to the writers usual stuff and a nice surprise.
Some of them are REALLY creepy. Excellent! Read more
Published 6 months ago by C. M. Jordan
5.0 out of 5 stars Brimming with great ideas & also provides a useful new 4 letter...
Many of these stories could possibly be described as ghost stories, and I do not normally take to spectral tales. Read more
Published 8 months ago by P. J. Dunn
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't start here
This story collection was the first China Mieville book I read and it very nearly prevented me from moving on to his other work. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Runmentionable
4.0 out of 5 stars To have his own effluvia maggot...
Thirteen short stories and a novella (really only a longer short story) from China Mieville, whose book The City and The City recently made such a stir. Read more
Published on 9 Aug 2011 by Eileen Shaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing storytelling
There are some uneven stories in this collection, but one story - FAMILIAR - is quite possibly the most brilliantly written, absorbing and exhilarating dark fantasy short story I... Read more
Published on 22 Jun 2007 by paul creston
1.0 out of 5 stars A dramatic let down
I consider China Mieville (apologies if the name is spelt wrong) one of my favourite authors. His novels set in the wonderfully realised and strange world of Bas-Leg (Perdido... Read more
Published on 7 Mar 2006 by G. Mayers
3.0 out of 5 stars My 100-word book review
China Mieville's first collection of short stories is rather a mixed bag - some of these are brilliant, others are not particularly interesting. Read more
Published on 7 Mar 2006 by A. J. Cull
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